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Paul Coates

March 14, 2008 |  4:34 pm

March 14, 1958

Paul_coates There are days when it doesn't pay to be a peaceful, sleepy, slightly overgrown little community.

And one of those days came this week.

It came at the weekly session of the elected county Board of Supervisors. On its agenda was the action to appoint a county mental health advisory board.

The establishment of such a board would be a step toward realization of a much-needed, expanded local mental health program, with the state footing half of the bill for us.

It could lead to more clinics, more mental health facilities and to fewer persons -- including dozens of children -- on endless waiting lists for psychiatric care.

The sooner the Board of Supervisors appoints the advisory board, the sooner the advisory board can evaluate the community's needs, and the sooner the county (or the communities within it) can take advantage of the state's offer to help.

But as I said, we were in a complacent slumber when the board met. It just didn't seem possible that anyone would object to a plan which would benefit everyone.

But we were wrong -- badly wrong.

The board's chambers were packed with "angry, protesting citizens."

There were 70 of them altogether. And I got a hunch that they all climbed out of the same clubhouse.

Most of them cried that it was all a plot to railroad us into mental homes, to mold "world citizens" and lock up those who refuse to conform.

(A provision of the Short-Doyle Act, through which the supervisors planned to expand our mental health facilities, clearly states: "It is the intent of this act that services to individuals shall be rendered only upon voluntary application.")

Not one citizen raised his voice in favor of a better mental health program, and apparently the mob on hand completely intimidated the supervisors.

Because the body -- which five months ago enthusiastically passed a motion to establish the county mental health advisory board -- tabled the action for three weeks.

There seems to be a certain highly vocal element among us which revels in the thought that there are men in white coats in every alleyway and a Communist plot under every bed.

I hope, at the next meeting, another element appears to vocalize. I hope it's a representative group of citizens and I hope it's equipped with good lungs.


If you want to know why, just check the back issues of your newspaper.

Read the articles about some of the pretty grisly crimes committed in our community by badly mixed-up youngsters.

Read the articles down to the last paragraph -- where the mother or father sobs out:

"I knew something was wrong with Johnny. I tried to get him examined and treated but we're poor people. And there was just no place for us to take him."

MIDNIGHT MEMOS: There's a new slant on the Sunset Strip.

Like all of a sudden, it's Oriental out there, Dad.

It started two weeks ago. Mary Morrison's Mocambo headlined Mioyshi Umeki, the petite star of "Sayonara."

That worked very well.

She's being held over. And the new revue is a supporting bill of hep Japanese dancers called the Keigo Imperial Troupe.

Whether or not their impressive title indicates they have the royal blessings of the emperor I do not know.

And it is not important. After their American debut at Mocambo, they will surely be looked upon with the royal favor of our local emperor, William Morris.

This is a cafe act that is a hit on the simple basis that it offers something unique for the tarnished appetites of ringsiders.

The group stars Takeuchi Keigo, a light-footed dancer who has the good sense to surround himself with a half-dozen attractive girls in attractive kimonos.

They offer some of the traditional Japanese dances, but then go so far afield as to do the Charleston. Which ain't easy in a kimono.

It's a refreshing performance and sets the stage nicely for Mioyshi, who is one of the most charming young women you'll ever see.